Narinjara News

 

Akyab, April 11

 

 

Arakanese new year festival is knocking at the door

 

The Arakanese new year festival, Thun Gram, will be held on April 17th, and the entire Arakanese population of the Arakan state and Burma proper, as well as Bangladesh, are preparing to celebrate.

 

Thun Gram is an Arakanese word descended from Pali, the Prakrit language of the Buddhist Scriptures, which translates as “period of transition” from the old to the New Year. According to the Arakanese calendar, the current year is 1366 (ending April 16th), and the new year of 1367 will begin on April 17th, New Years Day.

 

According Arakanese tradition, in the final three days of the ending year, water festival celebrations are held in towns and villages throughout Arakan state. In the period running up to the water festival, Arakanese people visit Buddhist monasteries to bathe the many statues of Buddha images in perfumed water. This is intended to cleanse the images.

 

In Arakanese culture, people can begin the water festival by throwing water at each other only after this cleaning process is complete. Additionally, old people visit Buddhist temples and monasteries to seek Kutho (virtuous action) by repeating the Buddhist precepts recited by monks each year at this time.

 

The water festival is a good opportunity for unmarried young men to attract the attention of their sweethearts by throwing water at them. At this time parents are not entitled to interfere in the affairs of their sons and daughters.

 

This year at the water festival in Akyab alone, there will be participants from at least 80 women’s water-games societies, and over 100 men’s water-throwing clubs. There will also be a large number of dance shows, at which decorated floats will participate.

 

According to Akyab residents, there will be many performances of Thun Gram songs, music and dance at the water festival.

 

It is hoped that the sound from this will spread, and encourage people everywhere to join happily in the New Year celebrations.

 

At this time, Arakanese people can forget all the problems of their every day lives, as they look forward to their good life in the coming New Year. #

 

 

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